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Connecting the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and calls for ‘harmonisation’ of sustainability reporting

Carol A. Adams and Subhash Abhayawansa ()

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2022, vol. 82, issue C

Abstract: We critically examine the call for ‘harmonisation’ of sustainability reporting frameworks and standards that occurred alongside an increase in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We identify three myths that have been promulgated in calls for ‘harmonisation’ that seek to: simplify sustainability reporting and ESG analysis and shift the control for standard-setting to an investor-oriented private sector body. We argue that the myths are based on deception, misunderstandings, and disregard for both academic research and the views of sustainability practitioners. They demonstrate a lack of regard for different users of corporate sustainability information, a lack of analysis of the alternatives, an overestimation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation’s expertise and mischaracterisation of sustainable/ESG financing.

Keywords: COVID-19; ESG; Sustainability reporting; Harmonisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:crpeac:v:82:y:2022:i:c:s1045235421000289

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpa.2021.102309

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